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When play begins at the historic Bitsy Grant Tennis Center in Atlanta, Georgia, next week, the Virgin Islands will be well represented. George Newton, Fenella Cooper and Alric “Ricky” Plaskett will all take the court in their respective main draw competitions. The ATA (American Tennis Association) is the oldest African-American sports organization in the United States. It has produced several of the world’s top players including legends Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson, the first African Americans to be ranked No. 1 in professional tennis and win grand slam tennis titles.

George Newton is the No. 1 seeded male in the Men’s 70s age category and will team up with Wayne Charater of Atlanta, Georgia, in the Men’s 70s doubles. Fenella Cooper will team up with Louis Reid of New York, New York. in mixed doubles 60s competition. Alric Plaskett, who currently resides in a suburb of Atlanta, will team up with doubles partner Carlik Jones of Atlanta, Georgia, in the hope of capturing the Men Open Doubles Title. Plasket, a former Davis Cup competitor for the Virgin Islands, is excited to participate in such a prestigious event.

Plaskett fist competed in the ATA National Championships in 1984 under the coaching of local tennis great Alden Richard. “For me it is always an honor playing in such a historic event and seeing my name in the main draw and St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., listed. Personally it will be great to see Mr. Newton and Mrs. Cooper who were a few of my local tennis icons growing up in the Virgin Islands as a child. They are in their 60s and 70s and are still regarded as two of the best senior competitors around.